A suspect was arrested Thursday for making a fake bomb threat at the University of Washington. The person behind it is believed to be a YouTube prankster who goes by the alias “Arab Andy.”
In a video of the incident, a man believed to be Arab Andy can be seen filming himself entering the campus building of Smith Hall, where he interrupted a lecture and migrated through a quad to Savery Hall, where the threat was played over speakers. The message on the pre-recorded threat was, “Attention, attention: C4 has been successfully activated. Bomb detonation countdown successfully activated.” The recording then played loud beeping, explosion sounds, and screaming. The threat was live streamed as it unfolded on both Twitch and Youtube Live.
Arab Andy has an entire community of fans that contribute through donations to see content like this, and nearly 7,000 followers on YouTube alone, despite only having 11 videos up. He has a large following of individuals who identify as “trolls,” or those who make deliberately offensive or provocative posts on the internet. Andy’s entire market is based on playing what paying consumers request over his speaker and live streaming it. Through his arrest, his fans defended him, donating and playing text-to-speech clips with anti-police sentiments and calling the police racist.
As reported by the Daily UW, a sociology faculty member who was present recountsed the incident.
“We were in a reception in our conference room … listening to our chair talk about our year’s worth of stuff,” the faculty member said, “then this man, who was about six foot one comes in the doorway and says ‘I’m sorry I’m late,’ and I didn’t recognize him, so I say are you supposed the be here … then he didn’t really say anything but then he pushed a button that said, ‘Attention, attention, attention’ then there was a long gap and it said ‘C4 device activated, the countdown has begun.'”
In a full version of the video, which has since been taken down, the suspect’s interaction with police could be seen, with him protesting to offcers, saying, “You’re going to arrest me for nothing bro,” and, “Come on stop, bro. That’s not fair bro. Bro? Bro, stop. Listen, bro. I’m sorry, listen bro. This is, like, assault, bro. This is a YouTube live stream bro.”
With the recent uptick in violence on school campuses, the threat was met with shock and a near immediate police response. The surrounding areas were evacuated and closed for approximately an hour while the area was secured, the bomb threat deemed false, and the suspect located and arrested. It is currently not clear what Arab Andy’s given name is, or what he is charged with.
[Image via screengrab]